Vernon has been anything but an archetype of public integrity. It’s an opinion that has permeated the public discourse over the past months and one that has been reaffirmed by the guilty plea entered by a former city administrator in a case involving public corruption.

The issue, whether or not it was inappropriate for city administrator Donal O’Callaghan to hire his wife as a contractor for Vernon, and thereby increase his own compensation to as much as $785,000 last year.

His guilty plea was the third entered by Vernon officials since 2006, which has certainly played a role in the discussion of whether or not to forcibly disband the small industrial city.

O’Callaghan’s attorney said that the law was un-yielding, but his client was open about his wife’s involvement in the firm which he wanted to award a contract to, and never tried to hide it.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Former Vernon City Administrator Donal O’Callaghan pleaded guilty Friday to felony conflict-of-interest charges related to the hiring of his wife as a city contractor, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

The contracts awarded to O’Callaghan’s wife, Kimberly McBride O’Callaghan, were first reported by The Times last year as part of a series of stories on high salaries and benefits paid to the city’s top officials. O’Callaghan — who had made as much as $785,000 in total compensation in 2009 — was indicted in October and resigned from his position at Vernon City Hall.

He is the third Vernon official to plead guilty to public corruption charges since 2006. The city’s former mayor, Leonis Malburg, pleaded guilty to voter fraud in 2009, and its former city administrator, Bruce Malkenhorst, pleaded guilty to misappropriation of public funds earlier this year.

Read the full article here.